Background In Shakarpur of Khambhat, a coastal city of Gujarat, India, several small agate polishing units operate from individual houses. Prevalence of Silicosis and other co-morbid conditions is systematically documented recently. Effect of environmental exposure on nutritional status and pulmonary function (PFTs) of children in this area was assessed.
Methods Cross sectional study was conducted in schools of this area. Weight was measured using standard digital bathroom scale while height was measured using Stadiometer (Seca). PFTs were measured for Forced Vital Capacity (FVC) and Forced Expiratory Volume in 1st second (FEV1) using digital spirometer (One Flow FVC memo kit). Out of School children were not assessed.
Results 240 children (128 Boys and 112 Girls) in the age group of 10–16 years participated. 5 children (2 boys and 3 girls below 15 years of age) were working in agate industry. As per WHO growth standards 56.3% boys and 45.5% girls were stunted whereas 47.7% boys and 36.6% girls were undernourished. (Body Mass Index less than –2SD). The mean (SD) FVC [1.82(0.64) for boys vs. 1.83(0.63) for girls] and mean (SD) FEV1 [1.26(0.33) for boys vs. 1.29(0.34) for girls] was comparable across gender. No statistically significant difference was found in PFTs of children exposed to in house or neighboring agate industry as compared to unexposed children.
Conclusion PFTs are decreased in the entire population of children as compared to standards in Gujarat Population but agate exposed children did not show worse PFTs. Prevalence of under-nutrition in children was high.